West Greene overpowered by Johnson County

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR Staff
MOUNTAIN CITY -- Like a big rig barreling down the road, Johnson County was simply overpowering in their 38-6 season opening win over West Greene Friday night.
Racking up 308 yards in total offense compared to only 147 for the Buffaloes, Johnson County rolled to the big win at Paul McEwen Stadium.
"I'm proud of them," said Longhorn head coach Mike Atwood. "They all played hard and they did what we asked them to. This bunch is aggressive and they want to play. They get after the ball and that's the main thing you do in football."
Sophomore quarterback Jeff Brinker made his first varsity start in a Longhorn uniform memorable with two scoring tosses in the first half. The first throw was a 29-yard pass to Ian Prudhomme for the game's first six points.
In the second quarter, Brinker's next TD pass came when he lofted the ball in the corner of the end zone to Jesse Jenkins.
"I was hoping I would get one touchdown sometime during the game," remarked Brinker. "To get two in the first half was pretty exciting. They told me on that first throw to put my finger back on the ball and just let it go.
"I tried to get the line up as good as I could to listen to the snap count. They got the job done blocking and it worked out."
The performance of Brinker was a relief for his head coach.
"We were counting on Jeff a lot," said Atwood. "He being so young, we were unsure how he was going to react under the situation. He really played well. He is willing to take a lick and throw the ball."
While Brinker was punishing West Greene through the air, completing over 50 percent of his passes, the Longhorn line was making gaping holes on the ground. Using 10 running backs the 'Horns amassed 232 rushing yards compared to just 56 for their opponents.
Tony Smith led those Johnson County backs with 69 yards on nine carries and scored Johnson County's first rushing touchdown in the first quarter.
Big tackle Jon Stout at 6-5, 255, was responsible for carving out many of those holes in the Buffalo defense, helping JC bust out to a 21-0 halftime lead.
"We did what we needed to get done," said Stout, a force on both sides of the ball. "This win will make our team confident. I personally feel more confident, we just need to work on some stuff. We believe in ourselves more than last year. This is the first game in the three years that I've been up here that I felt like we were actually ready to play."
The second half featured more of the same with Nathan Paisley running in from 13 yards out at 6:42 of the third quarter to put the 'Horns out front 28-0.
Prudhomme kicked a 30-yard field goal for the first score of the final quarter before a two-yard run by Jesse Atwood and an extra-point by Prudhomme rounded out Johnson County's scoring.
Besides catching the first TD pass, Prudhomme had an outstanding night by going a perfect five-of-five on PATS and making his only field goal attempt.
On the defensive side, the linebacker crew spearheaded by Thomas Moore caused havoc for both the Buffalo running and passing plans.
West Greene finally got on the board late in the game with a 22-yard pass over the middle from reserve quarterback David Cogburn to Tim Gilbert.
"We felt pretty good coming in," said WG head coach Barry Carter. "We had a couple of kids who went down and that put us in a bind. The thing is we're not getting the job done on the line of scrimmage right now.
"We just have to keep trying to get better and see what we can do. We're not a bad ballclub and we will bounce back. We're playing a tough schedule. That's not an excuse. That's just who we play. But, it doesn't matter if we are playing Mosheim Elementary if we aren't blocking and tackling better."
The Buffaloes fell to 0-2 on the season with both losses coming against larger 4-A schools. They return home this coming Friday for a Watauga Conference opener against Happy Valley.
Johnson County will also stay home on Friday, opening their Mountain Lakes Conference schedule in a tangle with Sullivan Central.